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UAA Economic Think Tank Names Interim Director

Oct 20, 2021 | Education, Right Moves

Hirshnerg standing in snow and smiling

A professor of education policy is the new Interim Director of UAA’s Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER). Diane Hirshberg, an eighteen-year veteran of UAA and ISER, takes over for Ralph Townsend, who retired after six years in charge of the institute. Townsend will continue as a professor of economics at UAA’s College of Business and Public Policy (CBPP), which contains ISER.

Hirshberg has a Ph.D. in education from UCLA, a Master of Public Administration degree from Columbia University, and two bachelor’s degrees from UC Berkeley. She currently teaches at CBPP’s Master of Public Policy program. Hirshberg previously served as president of UAA’s faculty senate and advisor to the chancellor on Arctic research and education. She was the founding director of the Center for Alaska Education Policy Research and is currently vice-president academic at the University of the Arctic.

The dean of CBPP, John Nofsinger, says ISER is currently searching for a permanent director.

“This is a time when research that informs state fiscal policy is more important than ever,” he says. Nofsinger adds that in the last few years, researchers at the institute “contributed to various economic and social studies that contributed to our understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic, both in Anchorage and at the state level. These research activities are at the core of ISER’s mission to enhance the well-being of Alaskans and others.”

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